June 29, 2007
Poetry Friday, Poem from 1906Being home sick on a beautiful Friday sucks. The only upside that I can see is that I can tolerate sunlight well enough to put up my poetry Friday post.
Anyway, this week's poem comes from the June 1906 issue of the Delineator (I only recently purchased this magazine, so I haven't not yet scanned it). The poem seemed especially relevant since this week in my Weight Watchers meeting we spent almost ten minutes talking about ways to get fruits and vegetables into one's diet. The poem was placed as the header to an article called "Salads -- Artistic and Hygienic". For some reason the fact that they have to call out the hygienic part is hilarious to me.
By Phila Butler Bowman
It looks so dainty, -- so tempting
So fit for the taste of a queen,
Such epicurean colors,
Such garnishing of greens,
Such art! But I turn from it bravely.
I dare not do more than look.
For I know, where I but to taste it,
I should fall in love, -- with the cook.
June 28, 2007
Still Fishy(There are more pictures of my tank here.)I've made some big changes in the aquarium this week.
On Monday I bought a magnetic algae scraper and a Siamese Algae Eater. The S.A.E. is cute, calm, and lonely, but I can't put another one in the tank to keep him company. He's already going to be marginally too big for the tank when he grows up.
On Tuesday I took the Serpae Tetras back. I know I said I wasn't going to, but I was afraid that if I put it off anymore I'd get too attached to be able to return them. In their place I brought home a school of six much smaller Red Phantom Tetras. Red Phantoms are relatively active, but they are much more peaceful than Serpae. So far they seem to be doing pretty well. The S.A.E. likes them too. He tends to hang out near them and try to school with them sometimes. I didn't really think he'd do that. It's kind of cute.
On Wednesday I cleaned my tank and replaced about three gallons of water (about one gallon had escaped to evaporation and with the Serpae on their trip back to the shop). I also gave up on waiting to figure out how to deal with the large piece of driftwood I wanted to use. Instead I put in a bunch of the smaller curvy pieces that I've already prepared. They've been boiled and I've had them in a bucket of water for several weeks (changing the water every few days or so). Anyway, I piled up several pieces so that there is some cover in the tank and there are a few different paths the fish can take around them. I'm not entirely sold on the composition, but it'll do for now.
I also ordered some Hornwort while I was at the fish store on Wednesday. Once that comes in I'll plant the right side of the tank more heavily so the fish have more places to hide. I'm still debating about whether or not to put Java Moss on the driftwood, but I think I'll probably hold off until I'm positive that this is the wood I want to use in the long run.
June 26, 2007
Late Antique Stuff
So once again I failed to get my antique photo up on Monday. *sigh*
Anyway, in order to make up for that I've put up a set of antique postcards I collected back in college. They fascinated me for a while, because they have most interesting pictures and messages. I always feel like there should be a story to go with each card. Many of them are so brief that there are few hints as to what it might have been.
June 24, 2007
Stuff, also... TiredI took over 400 pictures at the Shedd Aquarium. It's the first time I've ever filled my memory stick (and I wanted to take even more). I could have spent several hours in front of just their tetra tank. In related news, we're home now.
Also, very tired.
I will try to get the photos up some time this month. this will depend on my level of busyness and how bad the photos look once I get them on to on my computer.
June 22, 2007
Poetry Friday, "The Broken Lyre" from 1863I'm a bit early for this Poetry Friday, but I'm having a hard time sleeping, so I thought I might as well just put it up now. The round up this week is over on A Wrung Sponge, although I beat her post, so I'll have to wait to add myself later. ;)
This poem is from the December issue of Godey's Lady's Book and Magazine published in 1863. This is the oldest magazine I've got in my collection and I haven't yet figured out how I want to handle scanning it (it's not in good shape).
This poem stood out for me because of it's relative brevity. I think that all too often Victorian poets would keep on writing several verses after their poem stopped being even vaguely amusing. Sadly this one is attributed only to "Sara" so there is no lasting record of her full identity.The Broken Lyre
All shattered, low beneath her feet,
The cherished lyre's thrown;
The grief-wind o'er her soul hath swept,
And all the music's flown.
She's learned, alas, the bitter truth
That all that's fair must fade!
Although the morn is beauty bright,
Still evening brings the shade;
No path through life where press our feet
Amid the roses fair,
But, all concealed within the green,
Some briers, too, are there.
June 20, 2007
Fish on Fire Yet?There are more pictures of my tank here.)
So, I felt like I should maybe put up some sort of update about my poor fishes. They've had a rough couple of weeks. I had some really bad algae problems in the tank and I had to remove and sanitize my plants (frikkin black algae...). This upset the fish because they had no cover for a half hour and I was messing with their environment before and after that.
The serpae lived up to their fin-nipping reputation and the littler one now has a shredded top fin. He's starting to recover, but it'll be a while. His tail is fortunately almost healed at this point. I got all the stuff back into the tank as quickly as I could to keep them calm. After some discussion with one of the aquarium store guys, I reduced my light to only 10.5 hours a day (it was at 12) and have been more careful about how much I feed the fish. I still had to deal with a reddish algae bloom on the walls of my tank, but after I cleaned it off this Sunday (traumatizing my fish still more), it has greatly slowed down it's growth.
I'm gathering from my online research that reddish algae is normal during the cycling process, so other than cleaning it up some I'm not too worried about it. The black algae hasn't come back yet, which I was extremely worried about last week. I've been doing 20-30% water changes every week rather than every two weeks in the hope of keeping the bad chemicals in the water down some. I don't know if this is affecting how the tank is cycling or not. On one hand I'd like to buy the required test kits, but on the other they are expensive and I don't know how much the knowledge will help me at this point. I definitely will need them after the tank is finished cycling to insure that things don't go horribly wrong later on.
The aquarium store guy said I should come back at the five week mark with a water sample, so that's one more week to go. In the mean time I'm trying to sort out my aquarium decorations. I have a piece of drift wood I want to use, but I need to boil it so that it will be sanitized in the scale of a few days rather than a few months. I haven't been able to find a pot/pan big enough so far. I think I'm going to have to go with my plan to put it in a huge pan in the oven at 200 degrees for a day or two. This won't be as fast as boiling it on the stove top, but it should be just as effective. Then I'll have to weight it down, since I'm not patient enough to wait for it to stop floating. We shall see how well that works. I'm not too worried about it turning my water black/brown, since all the reports I can find suggest that tetras like that sort of environment. It will probably depend on what rocks I end up going with. So far I have found a good source for zebra rock and slate, but not the round river stones I'd like to use.
I want to get some java moss to put on the drift wood as well as some Hornwort to plant in the tank. I'm trying to keep in mind that the tank will be viewed from both sides. I don't want to obscure it too much of the view from the back/kitchen. I know I'm going to want to sanitize any plants I bring in, since all the shops I've been to have rather skeezy/dirty plant tanks. I think Hornwort can take a short soaking in 5% bleach, but I'm not sure about java moss. Ideally I'd like a more reputable plant source, but I, sadly, don't know any aquarium plant enthusiasts in the area to go to (obviously the fish shop isn't going to help me there). There is one more large shop on the south west side that I have yet to try.
I'm debating what my first fish after the serpae will be. I think I want to keep the serpae until they tank decoration is sorted out, since that will be a bit stressful for whatever is in there. I guess that means I may have to live with them for a few more weeks, but that's alright. I'll probably go with some pygmy cories once the tank is decorated (to keep the algae down) and then start bringing in the neons a few at a time. I've debated about getting a pleco, but I can't find any breeds that are small enough for the space.
I've ended up with a surplus of interestingly shaped driftwood. I'm torn about what to do with it. If I ever have another tank I don't want to have to go through the whole search again. On the other hand, none of the big pieces match each other, so if I just get a bigger freshwater tank I'll have to go back to square one. I also don't have a convenient back shed to store things like this in. The wood will have to live inside, which means I need to sanitize it before I store it to avoid possible nasties. It's kind of a lose-lose situation, since I'm definitely not getting a new tank now just for the sake of keeping driftwood in it.
June 19, 2007
An Interview... with Me!So Katie of PixiePalace did a meme a while ago where she answered some interview questions put to her by another blogger. She offered to pass the meme on and interview other people if they wanted. I thought it might be amusing, so I asked for questions and then proceeded to forget about it for several days. Uh... whoops... ^_^'
Anyway, so here are my answers to Katie's interview questions:
1. What are three things you plan to do this summer?
I'm planning to read more this summer. I've got a lot of good books (and some more questionable ones) piled up and I need to set aside more time to read them.
I'm going to GenCon in August of this year, so I have various "getting ready" and "organizing" things to accomplish over the summer.
I plan to get an 1877 gown finished this summer so that I can wear it to an event in late September. I'm tired of finishing costumes at the last minute, so I'm going to try my damnedest to get this done well in advance.
2. What is your favorite book ever and why?
This one has always been hard for me, because there are so many books that I love. I decided a long time ago that when people asked me this question I would tell them that my favorite book is A Night in the Lonesome October, because it is an awesome book and actually deciding on a favorite critically is too hard. It's not that A Night in the Lonesome October outshines things like the LotR trilogy or the Winnie the Pooh books, it's just really hard for me to pick favorites. (I know it's sort of a cop-out, but I feel like I should still give some sort of answer...)
3. What was your favorite book when you were a kid (any age you want, but tell me what about what age you think you were)?
Undoubtedly the Winnie the Pooh books. I didn't really distinguish between them as a child but I loved them! My mom used to tell me that when I was an infant she had to recite the Pooh stories to get me to hold still long enough for diaper changes. Even as a young adult I often listened to tapes of them read aloud to help me get to sleep at night.
4. If you could play in a LARP set in any setting you wanted, what would it be?
I really want to play in more Victorian Steam Punk games. I don't know exactly what I want out of the games, but the whole Steam Punk genre makes me deliriously happy.
I'm absolutely thrilled that I get to play in this one later this year (it's what that gown is for).
5. If you had unlimited resources and time, what would be the next three costumes you’d make for yourself?This one is actually easy, since I have more than three costumes planned out for myself at this point! ;)
The first one I really want is an orange and white natural form gown that I've been tentatively planning for a while. Some of my original thoughts and sketches can be found on this thread in the TV forum. After the thread petered out I realized that I could replace the leaf and flower embroidery from the original inspiration gown with a pattern of embroidered cogs. This combined with the tabs will, I think, make for an awesome summer Victorian Steam Punk gown. Whether or not I will ever gain the skill and patience to pull all this off... well that's harder to know.
The second costume is an orange and purple walking suit. I'm a little torn on this gown. I don't know if I want it to be the tail end of the natural form period (1882-ish) or the early part of the late bustle period (1883-4-ish). I'm not sure I want to have to make a bustle, but I know that if I do I'll definitely use it again. This walking suit has gone through several designs over the years. I own all the fabrics I'm likely to use, but I'm having a hard time deciding exactly what I want to do with them.
The third costume is a Victorian mourning gown. This one is a little more nebulous. I have the materials, but haven't decided on a time period or style for it yet.
About this meme:Katie's answers to the meme can be found here.
If you want to take part in the meme, leave me a comment saying that you want to be interviewed. I'll respond (either in comment or via email if you ask for that) with five new questions for you. You can put your answers where ever you like, including a blog or just your own head. ;)
Feel free to perpetuate the meme by offering to interview your friends if that sounds like fun!
June 18, 2007
Monday Antique Photo, Part 10
Gah. I nearly deleted all my period photo pages while I was trying to get this one up. Today just hasn't been very kind to me.
Anyway, this week's photo is up. Apparently someone's grandmother decided to throw a "Fall" party of some sort. I actually read a suggestion in on of my Edwardian fashion magazines that one should collect fall leaves, press and dry them, and then use them to decorate for a party like this. I can't imagine the amount of annoyance and work involved in actually doing that.
I do like this photo. It's got a lot going for it, despite not being in the best shape. I don't have that many photos of older ladies and almost none of the insides of actual Victorian homes (studio photos are far more plentiful). I'm pretty sure this one is not staged in a studio, since the setting is so detailed. I especially like the few details you can see of the furniture and china. They apparently also have a cake. Woo cake!
The 300 dpi version of this photo can be found on it's section of the period photos page. Unfortunately this is one case where you'll probably need to view the larger version to see some of the neat details of the image.
June 17, 2007
My Life with Master ThoughtsSo the short game of My Life with Master that I was taking part in wrapped up this evening. I thought I would write a short post summarizing my feelings about the experience.
MLwM requires a lot from a GM. This being the first time that our group has ever been able to play the game we all struggled quite a bit. Since MLwM is overtly a horror game (although not in the "slasher stalking you in the night" sense) it needs the gradual build up from bad to worse to terrible as the characters begin to come to terms with what they have become and what sort of mad man/woman they are serving. The GM has to keep this building up in mind. Don't send your minions of to slaughter orphans as your first order. They're not going to be shocked/upset unless you build up to it gradually.
The players need to keep in mind that when they are creating characters they need a good clear idea of why this minion is working for their master. What is it that their place in the master's household brings them that they wouldn't have otherwise? We struggled with this a lot too. Unfortunately this meant that the weight of "convincing" us that we really belonged there fell heavily on the GM. This was (I think) a somewhat unfair burden on our GM. He tried, but by this point our master was beginning to fall to the clutches of his madness and couldn't pull it together to be quite as persuasive as the characters perhaps needed at that point.
MLwM can be very hard for people who don't have any background with inherently narrativist games. I'm not saying they can't do it, but leaping in cold turkey was painful for some of us. I think it might have helped us a lot to have read/heard/discussed an example scene before we began so that we had a clearer idea of what was expected of us.
We had some issues with the mechanics that were very non-obvious to us. The number of overtures allowed per order was a bit confusing and early on in the game some of us felt very frustrated and fatalistic about how we could ever reach a point where we might kill the master and survive. Ultimately our GM upped our overtures to two per order and more aggressively encouraged/framed overture attempts for people who were having a hard time dealing with the style of play. I don't think this would be quite so hard for us to deal with now that we have some experience with the system, but it seems like more guidance on the expectations of GM style in the book might have helped the first time around.
I really wanted to give my all towards making a more interesting and complex story, but at times the pure mechanics of the game seemed to get in my way. On some level it was very hard to do something that would overtly screw me according to the mechanics of the game. I found this frustrating, as I expected the game to in some way reward the players who reached for overtly narrativist goals (since after all this is the stated goal of the game...).
I would have liked my character to fail more often and be entangled in the dark aspects of the story in a more interesting way than purely carrying out the masters orders. I think part of the problem here might have been caused by the general self-loathing (more than weariness)bias among our characters, but perhaps after I have a few more games under my belt the balancing of the mechanics will become more clear to me.
Overall I enjoyed MLwM once I was able to accept my character as a deeply flawed and neurotic individual (these flaws having little to do with her stated "More than Human" and "Less than Human" aspects). I found this fun and interesting, but the game really didn't reward it in any way. I guess I just enjoy playing neurotic characters for their own weird selves. I do plan to play MLwM again and hopefully I will develop more and deeper opinions with more experience.
Our GM's thoughts can be found here.
June 15, 2007
Poetry Friday, Steam Poem from 1883Somewhere deep in my heart I want to be a part of the world of gaslamp fantasy and Victorian steam punk. I'm not very good at adapting amazing mechanisms and to be honest, my patience hasn't been up to the task of making full clockwork inspired Victorian gowns (oh I have plans mind you), but when I found this poem it made me laugh. It's good to know that even at the time some people felt about the future of steam the way many of us imagine it should have been.
This poem came from a 1883 collection volume of Peterson's Magazine. It was specifically printed in the February 1883 issue. I haven't yet scanned this volume, due to it's size and thick binding it is not high on my list (sadly). It does have stunning articles and pictures though. At some point I'll get around to presenting the Egyptian vacation story and plate that are also in the February issue.
The Railway Engineer
By Clara Augusta
The warrior's fame is often sung,
And his brave deeds reckoned high;
But the man who stands in the engine-box,
And sweeps with his watchful eye
The iron track, as it stretches out
Over hill and foaming stream,
Has a lion heart and powerful hand,
For he is the king of steam;
And it needs a master will to drive
And guide his flying team.
Steam, the demon which rules the world,
And crushes under its tread
The beetling cliffs, the deep ravines,
The mountain's hoary head--
Steam, which wakes, with fiendish shrieks,
The dreamer out of his sleep,
And tosses back to the echoing sky
Its mutterings, hoarse and deep--
But the engineer this mad wild force
Obedient shall keep.
Through the busy day and silent night,
He stands the lever beside;
His eye ne'er tires, his limbs ne'er fail,
In all the breathless ride;
His pride is his engine: he loves it well,
And it yields to his command,
And bears the train to its destined port,
With a speed which is simply grand;
And the engineer holds all our lives
In the hollow of his hand.
One error of his-- we shudder to think
Of what might happen to-day,
If he slept at his post, or his watchful eye
For a moment were turned away.
Does he think of this? Does his heart beat quick,
As he sees the "danger" light?
Does he calmly choose to die with his charge,
Because he deems it right?
Down with his engine, crashing through space,
Crashing down through the night.
June 14, 2007
Not Eaten By ZombiesI wanted to take a quick break over lunch to note that no, I have not really been cornered by zombies. I was participating in a world wide blog event zombie apocalypse.
Just in case I confused anyone:
West High School = a high school in Madison, really has a huge graveyard next to it
Aaron = a friend and my SR gamemaster, told me about the event
Whitney = another developer in the workstation group here at work, has not been eaten by zombies
Marion = the head of the safety team, an absolutely awesome woman, not cornered by zombies
Alan = my boyfriend, not cornered by zombies
Jaime and Pete = Alan's coworkers, not cornered by zombies
Steph = Pete's wife, super nice, not cornered by zombies
Chris L. = a great tech-support person here at work, I play cards with him at lunch, not cornered by zombies
Gantry = the basic chassis that our radiation treatment machines are built on, huge and heavy, scary when rotating without the plastic cover on, does weigh thousands of pounds
I have no idea if there's welding stuff in my building. I have never welded in my life. I'm also pretty sure we don't really have a forklift downstairs, not that it matters.
There are bunkers downstairs for training and testing. They really are huge, buried in the ground, and made with thick concrete walls. They are good for tornado shelters so I figured zombie attack shelter was the next logical usage.
If you were amused by this whole stunt you might enjoy this statistical compilation post by falcongirl. It looks to me like North America is just screwed. ;)
June 13, 2007
Still Alive(Please read this first.)
The first barricade went down about twenty minutes ago. It was accompanied by a horrible sound, sort of like a dozen sick cats being half crushed by boxes. It's hard to imagine the things were human once.
The barricade in front of the bunker door was mostly complete, but we left part of it open. It's built around the forklift from the loading dock and was meant to stay open as long as possible. Well, okay, we mostly just welded as much stuff to it as we could after wedging one of the gantries diagonally in the entry way in front of it. I was having flashbacks to the last session of SR. I've never been able to take survival horror seriously before now. It's so much worse than I could imagine.
They got Whitney and two other people when the barricade fell. I was already inside the bunker, but we could all hear the screaming even after they shifted the lift part of the forklift to close the gap.
The bunker is about 5 feet underground and the walls are all several feet of concrete. The entrance isn't quite so optimal. The corridor is about 5 feet long and 5 feet wide or so. At least it's turned at right angles to the rest of the room, so they can't just push the barricade in on us.
After it was clear that no one else was going to make it through we started stacking heavy boxes behind the forklift to reinforce it. The gantry in front of it weighs several thousand pounds, but if they get through the sheet metal we welded over both sides of the bore it's not going to help much.
Before they broke through Chris L. ran a cable from the external net connection over in the server room. None of us know how long that is going to last. They don't seem interested in it, but it might get trampled or disconnected if they start messing with the server room.
The sounds from behind the barricade are terrible. No talking, just inarticulate noises. Pain. Anger. They don't even squabble like I would expect animals to. I think there are at least 40 or 50 of them out there. Maybe more. It's hard to tell.
I'm not sure if I believe Marion about the military anymore. I think she's just trying to keep us from panicking. She won't look me in the eyes when I ask her questions anymore.
I don't know if I'll be able to write again. It depends on how long the connection holds. Anyone out there who can reach us. Help. Even with the barricade, I don't know how much longer we've got.
Trapped in a Bunker(Please read this first.)
I don't normally blog more than once a day, but I figured I'd better put something up so everyone knows I'm still alive. Something happened downtown, I think it started around West High School, but the reports were all garbled. By the time I got to work this morning it was obvious something was wrong. A whole bunch of people sent OOTO emails with cryptic explanations and when I sneaked in a quick look on Gmail almost no-one was online. I'm so glad I brought my laptop in today. I almost never do, but I was going to have to go straight downtown to meet Alan after work.
I got a weird email from Aaron around 10:30 with a link to something about zombie attacks. I didn't think it was a particularly funny joke at the time.
At 11am the head of the safety team called me. She said I should round up everyone left on the third floor and meet her down in the hallway by the bunkers. She said to turn my weather radio on and bring any food I could find in the kitchen. I didn't know what to make of that but she was in a huge hurry so I didn't get to ask. I usually have 3 weeks worth of lunch in my desk, so I got Whitney to round everyone up and raid the kitchen while I bagged it up. I was glancing out the window into the business park and I noticed that there was smoke rising in the distance, off towards Verona. At that point I was still thinking there was a tornado sighting or something, but they told us long ago that the safety team has to get people downstairs into the bunkers really fast when that happens because otherwise we could get trapped in the mostly glass stairwells on the outside of the building. I didn't really know what to make of it.
When I switched my weather radio on it was just bizarre. I expected a normal calm broadcast and instead there was someone panting and hysterically babbling about attackers surrounding the building. I shut the volume way down so it wouldn't panic people. I made sure to grab my laptop bag on the way out. There were only 10 of us, but when we got downstairs there were about 30 more people frantically moving boxes and heavy equipment around.
Marion told us we needed to seal up the corridor entrances around bunker number 2. I bailed boxes for a while. It's a good thing that a lot of engineers work here. Also welding isn't as hard to pick up as I would have though.
The weather radio went quiet after some screaming around 2pm.
I'm still not sure I believe what Marion said is going on. I keep flashing back to the scene in the two part graveyard from the All Flesh game that James ran years and years ago. I'm having a hard time that all that ridiculous fantasy can turn into horrifying fact. I really don't want to think about it right now.
We started hearing strange noises outside the barriers around 2:30. scratching and groaning. Our part of the corridor includes the server room and one of the bunkers. We're trying to put up a second barricade across the entrance to the bunker. The server room has windows looking on to the hallway.
I managed to call Alan around noon before my phone died. (I can't believe I was so stupid as to leave the damn charger cord at home today!) He was okay at that point. Most of the CS folks retreated to the top floor of the building and barricaded the stairs and elevator. Apparently Jaime, Pete, and Steph are up there too, but he said most of the professors didn't show up to work today. I'm glad Steph happened to be on campus with Pete.
We've only got two laptops down here but the building wireless is still working. People have been using mine up until now to try to get news. The last time someone tried to call out they just kept getting busy signals.
Marion says she got through to the local army base while she was online earlier. She says they know were we are, but they don't think they'll be able to get to us for at least two days. We have enough water, and maybe enough food, but it's going to be miserable. I hate concrete floors more than I can possibly express.
I have to give my computer over to the next person now. I'm okay for now. Hopefully we'll all be okay.
No Photo This Week, Instead Two Magazine Scans
I sort of suck and didn't put up a photo scan on Monday. This is because I was distracted by working on the next two magazine scans for the period resources section.
The first issue is the Delineator from September of 1880 and the second one is the Delineator from June of 1881. Hopefully these will somewhat make up for my lapse of memory on Monday.
(If you're reading this in the middle of the night the issues might still be uploading, so give them a few hours and try the links again. I'm too lazy to wait until they are done uploading to post this.)
Just as a side note, since there was no Shadowrun this week there won't be a bento or any session notes either. I'm not keeping session note for the My Life with Master game I'm playing in right now so there won't be too much new stuff up for the next few weeks.
June 08, 2007
Poetry Friday, Poem from 1909While I was sitting at home in the dark being sick on Thursday, it crossed my mind that once I could stand to look at my computer again I should consider writing up my poetry post for tomorrow, so I didn't forget. I don't really have the energy to sort through my old original poems or to write a new one, so I looked around for interesting things I had on hand.
Then I realized that I do have some interesting poems from the old fashion magazines that I collect. This poem is from the Sept issue of the magazine Paris Modes published in 1909 (follow the link for scans of the entire magazine). I found it amusingly ironic that the issue the poem describes is still plaguing parents today. :)
We walked upon the beach one day,
My little boy and I,
And everything that lad did say
Began, alas! with "Why?"
'Twas, "Why is water wet, papa?"
And, "Why have fish scales?"
And, "Why is India so far?"
And, "Why aren't minnows whales?"
'Twas, "Why are beaches made of sand?"
And, "Why have lobsters claws?"
And, "Why doesn't sea-weed grow on land?"
And, "Why are sharks all jaws?"
And when to these--to every one--
I had to make reply,
"I really cannot tell, my son,"
He sadly asked me, "Why?"
June 05, 2007
Bento From Last Week
There was no SR today, so I guess instead of editing my SR notes I'll actually put up my bento photo from last week. This bento was a rush job. I came home sick from work and I wasn't fit to even try cooking until about 5:30 (even then I was cooking in the near darkness because I couldn't stand much light). I think all things considered I did pretty well.
The top has three sweet rice balls with red bean filling. I used a tablespoon of brown sugar and water along with a tablespoon of of sushi vinegar on the rice and the sweet red bean paste filling came from a can. The three rice balls were about 5 points total.
On the bottom there's a hard boiled egg (it was supposed to look like a star, but was too small for the egg mold) (2 points), two pork dumplings (2 points), and some grape tomatoes for color (0 points).
So overall that's 9 points total. It was very tasty, despite not looking as good as it could have.
June 04, 2007
Monday Antique Photo, Part 9.2
Here's another awesome family photo. I hope I eventually have the patience to collect and scan some more like this! :)
The back of this photo is absolutely stunning. The photographer, Strunk of Reading, PA, sprung for a beautiful red and gold printing with lovely large artwork and ornate script.
The 300 dpi version of this photo as well as the scans of its back can be found here.
Monday Antique Photo, Part 9.1
This is one of the few photos I have that is labeled with a name. On the back of the photo someone has hand written "Mollie Mitchell".
The 300 dpi version of this photo as well as the scans of its back can be found here.
June 01, 2007
Sewing and Weightloss, FrustrationsSo over the last 12 weeks of being on the Weight Watcher's program I've lost just over 15 pounds. That said, I've still got about 55 pounds to go until I reach the final goal I set for myself at the start of this endeavor.
Don't get me wrong, I am absolutely thrilled that I'm down below 200 lbs now. The first time the scale pegged me at 199 (in the morning, mostly unclothed) several weeks ago I was literally dancing around I was so happy. :)
But. There's a down side to losing weight. As I go down in size I'm going to lose many of the pretty things I've collected to wear over the years. If I'm lucky I might also get a few back. I'm also going to lose a lot of the clothing that I've made for myself at great pain and expense. I'm not looking forward to redoing the waistbands on all of my Victorian skirts. I expect I'll have to come up with some extra petticoats to make the hips not look sad.
I will probably also go through several corsets over the next year or so. This is something else I am very much not looking forward to. It takes me about a week of hard labor (all evenings, not all days) to make a corset using my current methods and I am not terribly interested in repeating that every three months or so. I'll probably try out the Truly Victorian corset pattern in the hopes that it might be a little faster and easier (well and fit me as an overbust corset).
Anyway, all this really boils down to is that I'm having a hard time getting myself excited about sewing lately. I have a lot of projects (and materials) backed up and waiting, but I can't seem to face 60+ hours of labor for an ensemble knowing that I might just have to get rid of it in six months.
It's all a blessing and a curse I guess. I've been losing about 1 to 2 pounds a week (usually closer to 1.2 to 1.5). So at this rate I should be pretty much down to 145 within a year. I'm kind of conflicted. Should I just go ahead with sewing things and accept that they will need to be reworked or simply discarded later on? Should I wait on my favorite projects and materials until I'm closer to the size I want to end up?
There are some things I won't be able to ignore, like my LARPs at GenCon and the Victorian LARP I'll be going to down in Ohio this September. Perhaps I'll ask around on the TV forums and see what patterns people thing will be most easily alterable...
Poems In ObscurityI've written quite a bit of poetry over the years. I lost a lot of it when my hard drive failed in my Junior year of college. In the long run this was probably good, since I suspect that none of the stuff I wrote in high school was really any good.
Most of what I've got lying around now is short, very very short. The longer a poem I wrote was the more I disliked it, so I steered towards very brief little pieces. Eventually I began writing one or two line poetry to be used as AIM away messages. Some of that is not too bad.
Anyway, for this week I thought I would present one of my slightly more poem-shaped pieces. I wrote this originally in January of 2005 and later titled it "Obscurity."
"One more layer," she said, "the cake's not quite high enough"
as I looked up at the yards of silk crepe, pine boughs, rich velvet, and whipped cream towering above me.
"But its huge," I countered, "how could it possibly need to be higher?"
"We have to be sure," she said, "or else they'll all know exactly what it means."